“First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits, or they’ll eventually conquer you.” -Rob Gilbert
We all have our bad habits. No matter how hard we fight against them, they seem to have a way of upending our daily goals and leaving us dissatisfied. In the hopes of combating this pervasive issue, I’ve thus compiled a list of six habits that every student should quit while in college.
1. Taking Your Money for Granted
Remember that awesome full-time job you had this summer where you made all that money? Yeah, your bank account doesn’t remember. Before college, there was a little more wiggle room for spending; housing and food were free, and school necessities were a whole lot cheaper. Now that you’ve navigated yourself into adulthood, there’s newfound independence comes with newfound financial obligations. Cutting back on eating out will save you more money than you realize. Regent students living on campus are blessed with beautiful, full-sized kitchens. Using them, will help you save money on food, putting a hold on your credit card bills and the dreaded freshman fifteen. Maybe put the extra money you save towards a car payment, healthier food, or that ENO you’ve always coveted.
2. Being Dictated by the ‘Fear of Missing Out’
Don’t let the dreaded ‘fear of missing out’ dictate your schedule and daily goals. The fact is, you can’t do everything. You will have to miss out on something at some point or another, so don’t feel bad when you have to choose to write a discussion board post over going to Cookout with friends. There will always be opportunities to socialize. Learn to say no to people before you find yourself completely overwhelmed with untouched homework and stacks of dishes in your sink. Remember, the whole world won’t forget you exist if you decide to close your dorm door to study for a few hours.
3. Letting Your Phone Take Priority
It seriously helps to dedicate a set amount of time to tasks at hand. Constant distractions don’t just hurt you in college, but they will also impede the way you manage tasks for the rest of your life. Therefore, training yourself to always have an entertaining distraction nearby when working will simply be a hindrance for task management.
Even though studying and learning should be your main priority in college, phones somehow have a way of jumping into our hands and whiling away our hours. I have found that trying to get work done with my phone within reachable distance is incredibly difficult, if not impossible. Try turning off your phone for a few hours, or simply put it on silent or in another room while studying.
4. Failing to Communicate with Your Parents
Perhaps college was your ticket out of the house and away from your parents’ seemingly overbearing rules and guidelines. Though it’s easy to come to school and get caught up in the excitement of being independent and on your own, you can’t forget that your parents are also having to adjust to a home without you. Your absence is probably much harder on them than you may think, so just take a minute out of your day to text or call and let them know how you’re doing or that you’re thinking of them. Plus, doing so will help keep homesickness at bay.
Distance will help you develop a deeper love and respect for your parents that you didn’t have before, and communication is key in maintaining that.
5. Always Being on the Lookout for ‘The One’
One sip of that unfiltered Regent water and suddenly everything changed. Because of the societal expectations which hold that everyone finds their soulmate in college, students tend to keep their eyes constantly peeled for their future spouses.
Now I’m not saying that wanting to get married is wrong. This also isn’t to say that you shouldn’t ask someone out. However, simply having the mentality that every attractive guy or girl you see could be your soulmate is objectifying and undeniably self-serving. When you see someone you may be attracted to, and immediately jump to the thought that “she/he could be the one,” you have deprived that person of the identity they inherently and wonderfully possess. Try to think of the other person as a child of God, not as someone who can give you something. There is so much freedom in—dare I say it—simply being friends with someone of the opposite sex.
I cannot stress enough the importance of avoiding procrastinating. It will never serve you well in college, grad school, or the professional world… ever.
Those bad time-management habits you had before college don’t magically disappear with your newfound liberation—in fact, without the accountability of parents and familiar routine, they can escalate rather quickly. Take it from an expert; this article was supposed to be finished last weekend. Now stop procrastinating and finish that paper you’ve been putting off.
Getting rid of bad habits is easier said than done, so take baby steps. It may seem daunting at first, but the reward after shaking that bad habit is so worth it in the end.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23) (ESV)
Catherine Miller is a contributor to the Daily Runner.